The state of Connecticut has made its first loan under the small business express package. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, it comes just days after questions were raised about the program’s paperwork problems.
Scott DeFelice CEO of Oxford Performance Materials shows Governor Dannel Malloy the new equipment his company has invested in since moving into this new South Windsor facility in August. Malloy is here because Oxford is the first company to get a loan under the state’s small business express package.
“The creation of program that has at its very core the mission of speeding the process to encourage job creation in our state, to retain employers in our state.”
Oxford Performance Materials makes biomedical devices under a new process called additive fabrication. Scott DeFelice says the $200,000 dollar low interest loan from the Department of Economic and Community Development helps further this cutting edge technology in the state.
“It’s part of an overall project to bring additive fabrication into the medical implant business, which is highly revolutionary, and we believe we’re the only ones doing it in the world at the moment.”
The company employed 12 people six months ago. Within the next few months it hopes to have doubled that, taking on new manufacturing personnel and design engineers. Scott DeFelice says the rebound of manufacturing is close to his heart because his family has been in the sector in Connecticut for 5 generations.
“There’s been some difficult times for sure. I think there was a time when trading money back and forth became more important than making things. But we’re really pleased that the state has stepped forward with these initiatives to help small business and manufacturing.”
The small business express package was created by the jobs bill last fall. It aims to do for small businesses what the state’s high profile First Five initiative is doing for corporations. But it’s taken some time to get off the ground – just a few days ago DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith told WNPR, final contracts were still under review by attorneys. This loan was finalized in 40 days – she hopes to get that down to 30 days for subsequent loans.
“One of the things that we’re doing and another thing that came out of the jobs bills was really bringing the lean processing and manufacturing approach to business processes within the state. And so we are applying that within DECD as well to make sure we can in fact do the same level of due diligence, get rid of the queue of people – which is usually the problem, right – it’s not necessarily the processing of a single application, it’s just that they have to wait in line.”
Smith says 200 more businesses have now applied for loans from the express package, and she’s confident her staff and their partner agencies can expedite the 30 day turnaround.
For WNPR, I'm Harriet Jones.